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Are you future-proofing your company?

The rate of change in emerging technologies has never been faster and the disruption caused by these changes has never been costlier for established corporations. To safeguard against this disruption more established corporations are investing in true research and development than ever before.

Some of the biggest disruptors in the world, (think Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Google), invest 3 to 5% of their sales into research and development. This represents a monumental sum spent on research with no expected immediate return. Many of these researchers are working with technologies that may not come to fruition for 20 or more years. Major pivots in Technology, Product, Channels and staff are seen in the spin-offs from these companies everyday.

Most traditional corporations have a difficult time setting aside 1 to 3% of their revenues to work on much smaller research and development projects and few of those projects are true research. They are Next Generation derivatives with expected project deliverables and financial returns expected in the near-term.

Consider the CEO of a hundred-million-dollar company addressing the board to explain investing 3 million dollars yearly for projects that don’t have immediate deliverables. This revenue almost always gets shifted to the short-term and more often than not it will remain in the corporate profits column. For many of these mid-sized companies that 3-5% represents the entirety of their profits. Many of these companies find it difficult enough to make investments in their near-term future let alone the long term.

When investments are made in future technologies they are often made as adjunct projects for the existing staff which either causes the staff to be chronically overworked or causes immediate projects to suffer. So whether you’re considering a position at a new company or considering your position within your current company, do I forget to ask this important question. Is your company future-proof?


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